Merck Manual

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How to Clean your Dog’s Ears

How to Clean your Dog’s Ears

  • When cleaning a dog’s ear, it is critical not to use anything that would tend to push any debris further into the ear canal. Cotton-tipped applicators (such as Q-tips) should not be used.

  • Assemble real (not synthetic) cotton balls and the ear cleaning solution. It is best to use saline eye solution to clean the ear. Do not use wax removal liquid or other over-the-counter ear cleaners.

  • Squirt enough cleaner into the ear to fill the canal. Massage the base of the ear until you hear the solution “squish.”

  • Gently grasp the base of the ear and pull the pinna up and away from the head in order to straighten out the “L” shape of the canal.

  • Wad the cotton into a tubular shape and gently insert it into the canal as far as it will go.

  • Again, gently massage the base of the ear to help work debris and cleaning solution toward the cotton and dry the canal.

  • Wait a few minutes before using any medication in the affected ear(s) as instructed by your veterinarian.